A question Eden has begun to ask me quite often is “Mama, who made my dress? Backpack, stuffed animal? Etc....” and I know it’s being spurred on by her seeing me sew pouches with the occasional Halloween costume or skirt, but it’s triggering a question in her at such a young age that I too often find myself grappling with at almost 30.
Shopping ethically is something that has grown all the more important to me as I have aged and become more educated on the effects of fair-wages and retail waste. I’m nowhere near perfect in being able to answer Eden’s question with aything other than “someone in a factory somewhere” but I do love when I have the opportunity to share the person’s name because I know that “this hand-painted peg doll was purchased through a small shop run by Sabine, a mama who paints when her kiddo’s sleep just like how I sew while you sleep.” Or that “this necklace mama is wearing came from a company that works with women all over the world to make pretty things and pays them so that they can help take care of their families”.
As the busiest shopping season approaches and you begin to make your lists of what to buy your loved ones, please consider how your purchase impacts the person who made it. And of course I’d love for you to shop through Eden & Emeralds during the holidays, but I don’t want to make this about why you should shop with me, it’s about why shopping small and shopping ethically truly does make a huge difference to the people behind those items!
And to get you started on your list making, I gathered together some of my favorite small shops & ethical shops for both your kiddos & for yourself, because mama needs something under the tree too.
I'd be amiss to not start off with sharing the retail side of my manufacturing partner. They offer the prettiest handmade dresses and right now they have festive pajama pants for the whole family!
As previously mentioned, our family loves our hand-painted peg dolls from Sabine I'm a big fan of supporting fellow mama-owned shops & the list of ones I adore is long, but this is just one that I'm personally gifting from this year. Be reassured though, that any mama-run shop you order from will greatly appreciate your support!
Every doll purchased provides 10 meals! Their dolls are ethically produced providing fair wages to artisans in Peru and the meals are distributed through numerous partners working in 66 different countries! Also, these dolls are adorable so you can’t go wrong with that!
I’ve now had 2 Christmas’s where trying to decide what to buy my itty bitty babe was so difficult because they were just so young, well to all of you mamas with babies 6 months & under, here is your answer! These sweet hand-knit rattles are crafted by women in Bangladesh & are certified Fair Trade.
This amazing company works in Kenya empowering women with fair wages encouraging them in business and creativity. This company is filled with beautiful gift options for both kiddos AND mamas, so I’ll share my top choice for both then head into more suggestions for
As I collected all of the items for my "mama" list, most of them were shops filled with jewelry, bags, scarves, & home decor - so many beautiful things! I couldn't truly pick a favorite from each one, so I just grabbed a single suggestion from each, but you really should click through and look for yourself! And with each purchase know that you are supporting businesses committed to ethical practices & empowering women from around the world!